Car insurance certificates now available online
Car insurance certificates can legally be issued online or via email from 30 April.
Where a customer agrees to electronic delivery with their insurance provider, a certificate can now be issued as an email attachment or accessed via a website. Previously only paper certificates, usually sent in the post, were valid.
The new rules come into effect after years of negotiation and will ensure that drivers have quicker access via the internet to their certificate if they need it.
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) says the move is environmentally-friendly too, saving 2,280 tonnes of carbon dioxide and up to 9,750 trees each year.
BIBA technical and corporate affairs executive Graeme Trudgill says: “After five years and discussions with numerous ministers, we are delighted to see these changes in legislation. This really will benefit everyone - a speedier service for clients and a real benefit for the environment.
"The post strikes really bought home the need for this change and we are delighted consumers will benefit from this.”
The legislation amends the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Motor Vehicle (Third Party Risks) Regulations 1972.
Insurance providers will send insurance certificates to a nominated email address or give customers a password to access the certificate via a secure website. However, motorists can still receive a paper certificate in the post if they choose to do so.
Tips to reduce the cost of car insurance:
• Shop around. Use an internet comparison site such as confused.com or moneysupermarket.com to compare premiums and levels of cover.
• Drive a smaller car with a less powerful engine. Fast souped-up sports cars cost more to insure. Modified cars will attract higher premiums too.
• Be careful. Your driving history has a big influence on your insurance costs. The less accidents you’re involved in, claims you make and penalty points you have on your license, the cheaper your insurance will be.
• Up the excess. The excess is the amount you will have to pay towards repairs yourself in the event of a claim. The higher the excess, the lower your premium will be.
• Tell the truth. 'Fronting' is where an older experienced driver is named on the policy even though the main driver is younger or has just passed their test. It’s a type of insurance fraud and if found out, could result in a claim not being paid or the policy being cancelled.
• Pay annually. If you choose to pay your annual premium by monthly installments most insurers charge you interest. An average APR of 18% would add about £126 to the cost of a £700 premium.
This is more usually a feature of car insurance but it can also crop up in contents, mobile phone and pet insurance policies. An excess is the amount of money you have to pay before the insurance company starts paying out. The excess makes up the first part of a claim, so if your excess is £100 and your claim is for £500, you would pay the first £100 and the insurer the remaining £400. Many online insures let you set your own excess, but the lower the excess, the more expensive the premium will be.
This is used to compare interest rates for borrowing. It is the total (or “gross”) interest you’ll pay over the life of a loan, including charges and fees. For credit cards where interest is charged at more frequent intervals, the APR includes a “compounding” effect (paying interest on interest). So for a credit card charging 2% interest a month (equating to 24% a year), the APR would actually be 26.82%.